Welcome to the Winter 2021 edition of Capital Thinking.

With the crucial COP26 climate summit now ended, it’s abundantly clear that mankind has much ‘heavy lifting’ to do to get anywhere near the net-zero targets set in Paris. In this vein, many of our articles touch on solutions aimed at alleviating further catastrophic warming of planet Earth. ‘Sponge’ cities, reflective buildings and Japanese-inspired mini-forests are some of the innovations discussed in Climate resilient cities. Could space be the place to go for solar energy, or is ‘Green’ hydrogen the Fuel of the future?

But despite technology advances, Cleaning up Concrete is a bruising reminder of the sheer scale of the climate challenge we face. Over 50% of all products are made of reinforced concrete, a material that’s harsh on the environment with no ready substitute.

Elsewhere, we delve into some Disruptive technologies, including implants to help spinal injury patients regain the use of limbs, and technologies that make objects ‘disappear’ or change appearance. This edition also includes some fascinating research suggesting neuroscience reveals our financial habits better than any survey. And, did you know that reading fiction can help develop leadership skills? Also on the agenda is social wellbeing and efforts to dispel the stigma surrounding mental illness.

On the economic front, Past its peak reviews the economic outlook and explains why the waters may get choppier from here.

And there’s more besides.

I hope among this eclectic collection of articles you’ll find one or more to grip your attention.

Thank you for continuing to support abrdn.

Richard Charnock
CEO discretionary

Cleaning up concrete

The manufacture of this ubiquitous material takes a heavy toll on the environment. Dave Waller looks at the construction industry’s efforts to m…